PennFuture Decries Abuse of the Legislative Process for Mercury Bill
Fast Track Maneuver Bypasses Environmental Committee
HARRISBURG, Pa., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, SB 1201, which passed the Senate on Tuesday, was deliberately sent to the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives to bypass the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, which has jurisdiction over environmental bills. SB 1201 would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) from adopting a regulation requiring power plants to cut their toxic mercury pollution by 90 percent. (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060425/PHTU035LOGO ) "The assignment of SB 1201 to the House Rules Committee is exactly the abuse of the legislative process that voters in both parties voted to reject resoundingly in the May primaries," said John Hanger, PennFuture's President and CEO. "Every member of the House now is confronted with a decision: will you side with those who abuse the legislative process and cut out committees of jurisdiction when special interests and their campaign contributions demand it? Or will you side with the people of Pennsylvania and clean up the House, restore it to a place of honor and respect, by telling your leaders to move this bill back to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee?" The Rules Committee "met" at 3:15 p.m., and the meeting lasted less than one minute. There was no public notice, only the Speaker announcing from the podium that the Rules Committee was meeting at the Majority Leader's desk. No members actually went to the desk. The Speaker then announced SB 1201 was reported out as committed. "PennFuture is calling on the House to recommit this legislation to the Environmental Resources and Energy Committee where it belongs," continued Hanger. "Yesterday's machinations over SB 1201 mean that this bill is now about much more than the regulation of mercury polluters. It is now about the House of Representatives and what it stands for." PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization with offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and the newly opened Center for Energy, Enterprise and the Environment in West Chester. PennFuture has been called "Pennsylvania's leading environmental organization" by The Philadelphia Inquirer.